The ten member nations of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) ended their annual summit on 15 January by unveiling a new free trade agreement in services with China.
The heads of state from Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam vowed to push for the establishment of an ASEAN Community by 2015, five years earlier than originally planned. In addition to a free trade area, this would involve the establishment of regional institutions and political integration, comparable to the early stages of the European Union.
China and ASEAN also signed an agreement to cut barriers to trade in services sectors, including education, to be implemented in July. The two want to create a free trade area in goods and services encompassing close to 1.8 billion people by 2015.
Documents from the ASEAN summit are available at: http://www.12thaseansummit.org.ph/innertemplate3.asp?category=documents.